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01.03.2017
The fall ...
The fall wasn't the problem – the problem was the sudden stop :-)
A moment like many others when you are dedicated to bouldering; while pulling hard on a difficult project in Cresciano (Switzerland), I slipped of the holds, and split seconds later I landed on my crashpad. But this time was different. I landed hard on my back, followed by a backward somersault into the forest’s stony ground. Conscious again, I was sitting on my knees looking up at the project five meters above me. “That kind of a fall is not good Bernd”, a voice was whispering in my mind.  
There was only little pain in my neck, which I didn’t give much attention to, and I went back home. The next day I went to a spa, relaxing. I didn’t think the fall was anything serious, until a few days later when the pain became unsettlingly severe.  
After an MRI, the doctors explained to me that I was very lucky, but I’d badly injured the 5th and 6th vertebra in my neck. When I woke up a few days later, I couldn’t feel my  thumb and index finger anymore. A funky feeling. A few hours later my muscles on my back (terres major and serratus anterior) started vibrating. 

That was the moment when the brain stopped sending impulses to the muscles. The atrophy started slowly. I didn’t know what was going on. I felt the results eight weeks later back in the gym. I wanted to hold on some jugs, but I couldn’t do it anymore. My arm would straighten without any resistance. For more than 25 years I’ve been able to hold my bodyweight with one arm – now there was no chance. It was hard for me to lift up my iron pan from the oven.  After my strongest year of climbing in 2015 (http://bit.ly/1kfJ06P), this accident put me back to zero again.
I visited many specialists, trainers and worked together with the best physiotherapists. I needed more information about the injury and to work out a proper training program. In April, doctors gave me the green light to start recovery training. I did everything that science told me, but with poor results. When it comes to nerve problems and healing processes, it seems that science has a long way to go. In August 2016, I left Europe. I needed a break from all the specialists and theories. 
I went to my Shangri La – alone. I love the secludedness and quietness of those remote mountains. My wandering thoughts are immediately calmed by the view, and with a daily routine I started working on my lost muscles again, developing some therapy forms of my own with the knowledge I gained during the year. 
After some time, the serratus anterior – the most important muscle in climbing (I didn’t know that either) – put on minimal strength. After a month in the Himalaya my shoulder blade was more or less stable and didn’t move away from my body anymore. Now I was able to climb outside more without causing pain and problems in my right shoulder. Luckily my friends from Tyrol arrived  eight weeks later in the ‘lonely mountains’. With Toby, Marissa & Manu, the fun factor in the boulders was highly motivating. We cleaned and climbed new proud lines on the finest granite and developed new sectors. And, by November 2016 I was able to hold my bodyweight for 6 seconds again. 
I am still working on my ‘comeback’. This year, I will once again focus on my body and health. I am training very specific, more indoors than outdoors. The program that I developed is working and my dreams in climbing, in bouldering, are still alive. I will give everything to make them a reality again. 

I hope you also believe in your dreams and I wish you all a great climbing year and inspiring moments in nature. 
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